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One area that has always helped me smile is friends. True friends.

Friends who accepted the old me and the new me. Friends who welcome the me with epilepsy and a damaged brain. Friends—fortunately I had, and have, many.

Before I almost died, life for me and my family included friends. Meals together. Time in each other’s homes, at each other’s jobs. Learning together, laughing together, playing sports together, enjoying music together, grieving together.

During the illness and recovery, the after-me-becoming-a-much-different-me, I still had friends. They cared. They showed their care.

I felt alone underwater. But though I felt that way, and though my friends could never fully relate, they cared. They refused to leave me alone.

But many patients are alone. I want to see that change. If you are a patient or a caregiver, pursue a support group. If you are not familiar with epilepsy or any type of traumatic brain injury, learn about it.

Find people who need a smile.

Visit them.

Show that you care.